My Year With The A-Team: Season 5, Episode 9 – Point of No Return

Stockwell and the A-Team hanging out in a garden

“Face is dressed as an old Hong Kong guy – though, sadly, he is not voiced by Scatman Crothers.”

Forward!


Point of No Return

Wild Guess Preview: Poor Murdock has a new day job at a computer store, and he’s lost his RETURN key, which means he can’t enter data, can’t end paragraphs, can’t do much of anything! He convinces the team to help him find it, and they search everywhere – London, Moscow, Washington, L.A., Tokyo – to no avail. Finally B.A. solves the mystery: “You bought a TRS-80, fool!” he says. “It don’t have a RETURN key, it has an ENTER key!”

The Recap: Something is going down in Hong Kong, and whatever it is, Hannibal’s watching – and listening, thanks to some fancy audio tracking equipment. A dude pulls up in a boat and hands a bag to a well-dressed man and woman. They open the bag – it’s plutonium! Some guards find Hannibal snooping. He smiles. “Hi guys. Here,” he says, pulling out a smoke grenade and throwing it their way. Then he runs off, but one of the guys dumps a forklift on the colonel.

Hey, Carla’s back. She calls Stockwell on the Ultra-Mysterious-Phone and says that Hannibal is missing, but that he was able to send a message before disappearing: “36 hours to match point.” Stockwell flies to Langley to explain to the rest of the team that Hannibal’s missing in Hong Kong, but that’s about it. “We’re talking about the Colonel’s life,” Face says. “So a little information isn’t enough.” Stockwell relents, and explains that Hannibal was tracking a shipment of illicit plutonium from India to Hong Kong, and that he found out something bad was going down in 36 hours. “We must assume that the network has been terminated,” Stockwell says, but says he’s going to Hong Kong to follow-up. He forbids the team from coming along – “you’re all confined to quarters until further notice” – but B.A. says no way. “Hey man,” he counters, “this time we’re gonna do it my way!”

Murdock and Face shows a photo of Hannibal around
“He’s got grey hair and a cigar and he used to be on ‘Banacek’…”

Ok, so everybody goes to Hong Kong; B.A.’s even conscious when they get out of the taxi! There’s a young guy, Bobby, wearing a Chicago Bears cap and watching the team from his pedicab. Stockwell asks Face to check them into the hotel, but Face wants to head out right away and find Hannibal. Which he does, with Murdock, though they don’t have much luck finding anyone who remembers the colonel – “you don’t think he was a bad tipper, do you?” Murdock wonders. The kid in the Bears hat comes over – his name is Bobby and yeah, he saw Hannibal; after a few “tips” he starts to remember the encounter. He offers them a grand tour on his pedicab; Murdock says they’re short on time but the kid shares a proverb from his grandfather: “Time is like empty bottle of wine. Only good when filled.” They drive off.

Frankie and B.A. make excuses for their colleagues when Stockwell asks for them; Frankie says Face followed a lady, while B.A. says Murdock was distracted by “something in his head… ain’t no telling what it was.” The three of them head up to Hannibal’s room to look for clues; they find Alice Heath, Hannibal’s Hong Kong contact. She doesn’t know where the colonel is, though; he asked her to investigate a man known as Rajiv, but that was his last instruction. “Johnny sure got himself into a kettle this time,” Frankie says.

Face and Murdock have gotten themselves into a full-on tour of Hong Kong. Bobby is driving them around aimlessly and quoting his grandfather’s proverbs. He’s doing this because some guys are following his cab. Bobby takes them to an alley, where the other guy shoots into the back of the pedicab, but Face and Murdock saw the guy in Bobby’s side mirror so they snuck out of sight and avoided any damage. They do manage to cause a little damage, though, hitting the guy in the head with a board a couple times. “What would the colonel do if he was here now?” Murdock asks, and instantly he knows the answer: he stands the guy against a wall, calls him “slimeball” and demands that he talk. The guy doesn’t talk. “That didn’t work,” Murdock says. Face threatens him with an Uzi and the guy talks – but they don’t like what he says. “This man is dead.” Oh no!

This is not good news and the team knows it, though they insist to a very upset Frankie that without a body there’s no proof Hannibal’s not alive. But what about the goon back there saying he is dead, Frankie asks? “YOU SHOULDN’T BE LISTENING TO GOONS!” Murdock thunders. He apologizes for the outburst, but adds that “goons are not a reliable source of information.” Hopefully. Face says Hannibal is alive until they see something that proves otherwise.

Time to find out for sure: Face tells Stockwell that “Murdock and I have something we’ve got to check out.” “You’re not checking anything out,” Stockwell says, because it’s clear that Hannibal’s dead. The team protests this, but Stockwell says there are bigger fish to fry than even a close friend. “We’ve got 15 hours and 58 minutes to find that plutonium or it won’t matter if Hannibal Smith is alive or dead.” He turns his back and continues blustering on about how fine soldiers like Colonel Smith know the risks and take them willingly; when he turns around, Face and Murdock are gone. Frankie: “Face saw a girl.” B.A.: “And Murdock saw something in his head.” Beautiful.

Face and Murdock are looking for Bobby, who’s conveniently vanished. So they approach a different cabbie, a rotund white guy, and say they’re “looking for a little action.” He has just the place for them, and says to hop in. Still, Murdock is confused. “How can a guy who pedals around all day be so… large?” They end up at a gambling club hidden in a pastry shop and confront Bobby. He’s – gasp – got Hannibal’s dog tags. “He gave these to me,” Bobby says. “He says he didn’t trust anyone else in Hong Kong.” If this is true, the teamers realize, then Hannibal also didn’t trust his contact Alice.

Stockwell and Rajiv hanging around
This doesn’t feel right without David McCallum here.

Stockwell and Alice are at Hop Louie’s restaurant, meeting with a Mr. Chin, who Stockwell knew when he worked out of Hong Kong. Stockwell tells Chin that Hannibal saw him take the plutonium. “He must have been confused,” Chin says, and turns things over to two of his flunkies. Stockwell clobbers both of them without ruffling his suit – impressive. But when he gets back to his table, Alice has spiked his drink… and so next we see Alice and Chin trussing Stockwell up in a warehouse somewhere, next to an ailing Rajiv. Their leader is “the infamous Lin Wu” – wow, the villain is a lady this time. Rajiv is quite unwell; Stockwell says it’s obvious he’s suffering from radiation poisoning, and that means there’s a leak in the plutonium case. Because of this, and because the team is tracking him via a homing device, Stockwell tells the villains “your only option is to do it… my way.” Lin Wu suggests another option: killing Stockwell immediately. That’s what Chin prepares to do, but the team busts in; Stockwell kick Chin in the back of the head and knocks him out. They start to untie Rajiv, too, but Stockwell says wait, he has radiation poisoning. “Oh GREAT,” says Frankie. “I’m gonna die!” Murdock says, matter-of-factly.

Frankie checks Murdock's eye
Murdock is fine. Relatively speaking, of course.

Well, if they’re gonna die, it won’t be before they enjoy a little hot tub type action at an outdoor spa run by one of Stockwell’s friends. (Though I’d hoped not to hear the general say “take off your clothes” to the teamers.) They’re taking iodized salt just to make sure they won’t get affected by radiation poisoning. Frankie asks the attendant for sponges, and the guy returns with four beautiful ladies. So I guess they’re ok.

But we still don’t know what happened to Hannibal! Maybe that’s why Murdock and B.A. are at the hotel, meeting with Alice. She pretends that “they grabbed us” at the restaurant, but nobody believes her and she runs for it. Face and Frankie are at the door; she shoots them! Oh, they’re wearing bulletproof vests, so it’s ok. Alice hails a pedicab – Bobby’s cab, so Stockwell says “everything is going as according to plan… awesome idea, Captain.” Murdock says thanks, but he’s worried about the radiation: look, says, “my hair is falling out!” And he thinks he killed the flower in their hotel room. Not so, says B.A.: “It’s plastic, fool!” Murdock: “Then it’s worse than I thought.”

Bobby takes Alice to the Imperial Bank of Hong Kong to see Lin Wu. “The plutonium is in place and ready for shipment to the Libyans,” she tells Alice. (Is this the plutonium they give to Doc Brown in “Back to the Future”?) As for the leak in the plutonium? “In one hour, it’ll be their problem!” Stockwell, Murdock and Frankie are regrouping outside the bank; they figure Hannibal is inside, along with the plutonium. Stockwell says they have ten minutes to get inside and find both.

Face is dressed as an old Hong Kong guy
Hong Kong Faceman, number one super guy

Oh wow, Face is dressed as an old Hong Kong guy, and he and Bobby are asking a bank associate about safety deposit boxes. Face mumbles something and walks into a secure vault somehow, which sets off the alarms. Lin Wu calls for a huge guy called Chang and says “we move in fifteen minutes,” and Murdock and Frankie sneak their way in, beating up the security guy and taking control of the bank’s many security cameras. They’re still worried about the radiation: Frankie: “Do you think we can still have children, Murdock?” Murdock: “I don’t think I know you well enough.” Ha! They spot Hannibal in an office: he’s alive but unconscious. Lin Wu spots them too; she tells Chang, to “take these gentlemen for a ride and kill them.”

B.A. punches Chang
B.A. hulks up.

Chang loads them into laundry baskets and hauls our guys away; Bobby and Face, who’s still in his old man getup, launch a rescue by tackling and kicking the dudes. “What’s keeping those fools?” B.A. asks, unaware of what’s going on inside. The answer: Chang, and he comes out to face B.A. in a battle of the big guys. Chang is pretty ferocious – he tosses B.A. through a wooden crate – but our sergeant makes a strong comeback and nails the dude with a garbage can lid. E-C-W! E-C-W!

Finally Hannibal is coming to; “what took you guys so long?” he wonders. “You didn’t leave a forwarding address,” Murdock teases. Stockwell says “match point is in 22 minutes” and Hannibal perks up, ready to rumble. “The plutonium’s at Pier 26.” So they drive off in a white truck. Face tells Bobby they couldn’t have done the rescue without him. “The A-Team couldn’t have done it without me?” he says, incredulous. “Primo, man!”

Lin Wu takes the plutonium hostage
Stand back or Mr. Fusion is gonna get it!

Alice and Lin Wu and the leaky plutonium are boarding a barge at Pier 26. And here comes the white truck – Hannibal tells B.A. to floor it, which makes Stockwell ask “are you out of your mind?” But it works – the truck leaps onto the barge and the team starts shooting. Hannibal throws tear gas grenades, while B.A. launches the regular kind, and eventually all the villains end up in the water or surrender. Except Lin Wu – she puts a gun to the plutonium canister and threatens to fire if anybody tries to grab her. Bobby, though, has been sneaking around the back side of the pier, and kicks the thing out of her hands. It flips into the air, turning end over end… and then Lin Wu turns into the satellite from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Actually, everyone looks worried and then Bobby catches it, and says, to Hannibal, “I love it when a plan comes together!” Then his face melts off because of radiation. Ok, not really.

The team at a spa
The (Irr)A(diated) Team

Time for some R&R at another outdoor spa – Hannibal’s lounging on a floating mattress, while Face tries to convince Murdock that they weren’t exposed to enough radiation to get sick. “Good,” Murdock says, “because I’m too cute to go through life like a night-lite.” Stockwell drops by to say they’ll be headed home in 12 hours – but first, some ladies. “One of the rewards of doing it… my way,” he says, with a smile.

Pretty fun – I do love that Stockwell is a certified badass on these missions. Though it seems like there are more characters than they can write for in a single episode – B.A. didn’t have much to do until the very end, for example.

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